Chapter 23: Duct Tape Forever

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Swedish Again: Chapter-By-Chapter Guide


Questions for Understanding

  1. Which items “told” Anna she was back in North America?
  2. How did exhaustion affect Anna’s body shortly after she arrived in Canada?
  3. When trying to secure health insurance in America, what did Anna tell herself?
  4. Did Cara attend Fionn’s graduation?

Questions for Group Reflection and Discussion

  1. Why do you think the title of this chapter is Duct Tape Forever? What does the phrase remind you of? Do you think it’s amusing, sad, or something else?
  2. It’s 2018. How is Anna’s visit to Canada similar to her visit in 2016? How is it different?
  3. Describe Fionn’s graduation. Is this what you expected to happen?
  4. The chapter (and book) end with a conversation between Anna and her coworker. Describe the coworker’s reaction Anna’s story and Anna’s response to that reaction.
  5. As a reader, does the ending satisfy you? Why, or why not? If you met the author of this story, what would you want to ask?

Ideas for Further Consideration

  • When you consider the end to this story, would you say Anna returned to her previous life, or would you say she created yet another new life? Why?
  • Based on what you’ve learned about Anna’s life in Sweden, what do you think will be her biggest challenges as she resettles in the US? What will be easy for her?
  • How do you think she will balance her large, international family now that she has moved back to the US? How would you do it?
  • Would describe this story as primarily an emotional story, a spiritual story, or an adventure? What makes you think so?

Especially for English Language Learners

Key Words and Expressions:

“…clear packing tape.” = wide, clear tape which is used for packages. Anna is using it instead of duct tape, which is thicker. (p. 238)

“…I straddled precariously…” = stood with legs apart, looking like she might fall (p. 238)

“…the Stephen King novel…” = the popular book. Stephen King is a popular American writer who often writes horror novels. This was a book called Mr. Mercedes. (p. 239)

Finding Dory” = a popular animated movie for small children

Grammar Focus:

Using Dashes to Express Age

When expressing someone’s age in writing, sometimes we use dashes and sometimes we don’t. Here are some guidelines and examples:


Use dashes when the number phrase is an adjective. This usually means the phrase comes before a noun.


a six-year-old immigrant

an 18-year-old student

a two-year-old child

… my 22-year-old granddaughter… (p. 238)

No Dash

Don’t use a dash when using the phrase to finish a sentence or clause.


I came to America when I was six years old.

At that time, my granddaughter was 22 months old.

When Anna left Sweden, Sinead was 15 years old.

When Danny was a month old… (p. 342)

Answers to Part 1

  1. “The cushioned wall-to-wall carpeting, the humid blast of Ontario’s spring heat wave, the sweet flow of maple syrup on toaster waffles, and the floral scent of Costco laundry detergent…”
  2. She became very sick, with vomiting and diarrhea.
  3. Every choice has its consequences, Anna. Deal with it.
  4. No, she was in Greece. She and Anna spoke by phone.

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